Excellence in the Classroom
In what has become an annual tradition, President Dana Mohler-Faria and members of the cabinet paid a surprise visit to the classrooms of two faculty members to present each with one of the institution’s top honors.
Dr. Ward Heilman, professor of mathematics, is the 2013 recipient of the President's Award for Distinguished Teaching.
Dr. Kathleen Laquale, professor in the Department of Movement Arts, Health Promotion and Leisure Studies, is the 2013 recipient of the President's Award for Distinguished Teaching.
Professor Heilman joined the Bridgewater State faculty in 1996, and quickly became a well-liked and respected presence on campus, known for his ready smile and ubiquitous shorts. He had been working part-time at Regis College when he got the call from Bridgewater. Due to illness, there was an opening in the mathematics department. “I came in one day and was teaching the next,” Dr. Heilman recalled. “And it was such a great place; I thought I’d only be here a short time. But the people are great.”
His area of specialization is “combinatorics,” or “clever ways of counting things,” he explains, as well as graph theory and cryptology.
Professor Laquale said she was wondering why the president and members of the cabinet all of a sudden appeared in her classroom. “I stood up immediately, just like we were taught as children to stand when the principal walked into the classroom,” she said.
As President Mohler-Faria announced her as the distinguished teaching award recipient, she had to bite her lip to keep from crying. “I was so happy, humbled, proud, and so thrilled that it was announced in front of my students,” Dr. Laquale said. “I thought of my parents and how much they had supported me in all I did. You see, I come from a teaching family: My father, two brothers, both sisters-in-law, my two nieces and one nephew are all teachers. My mom was not a credentialed teacher but was the best teacher among all of us. The announcement of my award will be a moment in my teaching career for which I will treasure for a lifetime.”
Professor Laquale joined the BSU faculty as an adjunct in the spring 1997, and became full time that fall. (Photos by David K. Wilson, ’71; story by John Winters, G ’11, University Advancement)